Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Maple Syrup Time

Today is a beautiful day to be outside!  With temperatures in the 40's, Bob and I decided we needed to get the sugar maple trees tapped today.  Our little bear Hamish, who always loves adventures, wanted to help.  I got out his wooden sled and he got to ride on it and take care of the pail of spiles.
Bob went to "the helpful place", our local Ace Hardware, and bought a new 7/16" bit for his drill.  The portable electric drill was much easier than the old brace and bit he used to use.  Hamish wanted to try everything, but Bob told him he wasn't strong enough to hold the drill or hammer.
Hamish was content to get spiles out of the pail and hold them while Bob drilled.  A pail lid made a pretty good seat.
"Thanks for the spile, Hamish."

"This is fun being inside the pail.  I hope Dad doesn't put the lid down though, while I am in here!"
"Sap tastes good!  Maybe not as good as honey, but my mom said it is much better after is is boiled and made into syrup.  I can't wait, but Dad said it will be a few days before we start to boil it.  We need a lot of pails full.  This was fun!"

A Rya Rug

I had a little bit of warp left after doing some rosepath rugs and decided to try a rug on page 50-51 of this rug book, which is a  favorite of mine. The rug is woven in plain weave, with spots of rya knots.

The rug will be for my granddaughter Hailee.  I'm sure she thought I forgot about her, but I didn't.  It is just that lately, I have more plans than energy.
The rya knots take small bits of yarn, 4" long.  Each knot is three strands.  I cut some thin cardboard 4" wide and about 6" - 7" long and folded them to 2" wide as cutting guides.  I wrapped the triple strands of yarn around the cardboard until I had enough for the knots in one row of the pattern and then cut them on the open side of the cardboard.
The rug has five spots across.  Each spot consists of five rows of knots, separated by a plain weave row. The first and last row of each spot has three knots and the middle three rows have five knots each.
I measured, cut and laid out the yarn for each row.
I marked the reed for the center of each spot. The first row takes the longest because I needed to find the center of each spot.  I started the spot in each row with the center knot.  It took me about 4 minutes to do the first row with fifteen knots.  The rest of the rows took about the same amount of time, even with ten more knots.

To tie a knot, place the three strands under the two warp threads on either side of the mark on the reed.
Wrap them around the two warp threads, making the cut ends even.
Separate the two warp threads and tuck the cut ends between them.
Pull on the tails and slide the knot down to the fell line.
It doesn't have to be real tight because the beater will push them tighter.
Continue adding rya knots on either side of the center one.
Remember to weave a row of rag weft between each row of knots and beat really hard.

When the spot is finished, weave enough rows of rag so the knot fringe doesn't overlap the next row of spots.

Notice the fell line isn't straight around the spot, but within a couple rows it straightens out.
The first row is complete and with a few more passes of the rag weft, it will be ready for the second row of spots. The fringe spreads out nicely even though all the knots are lying in one direction when woven in.

The rag weft is strips of ice dyed sheets, torn about 3/4" wide.  I am using two strips together.  One is pale green and the other is mottled blues, purples, and pinks. It gives a nice variegated look.